In August, the Municipal Messenger of Morris Township, NJ published a notice that applications were being accepted for the jurisdiction’s 2020 Citizen Police Academy. The notice was accompanied by a photograph of the Academy’s 2018 Class, posing with finger-guns at the ready against the backdrop of a calibrated gun sight reticle.
Clearly, the students were enjoying a moment of light-hearted camaraderie amidst their 10-week exposure to police training, operations, and procedures.
That, however, was too much for one community member, who in an August 7 commentary in the Morristown Green expressed her outrage over what she considered an “unconscionable” endorsement of firearms “in the hands of our citizens.”
“What the heck?” she demanded to know.
What the heck, indeed.
The writer, apparently, forgot that she lives in the United States, where such a phenomenon is actually protected by the Supreme Law of the Land, specifically, in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In her defense, she does identify as being from New Jersey, where the fundamental right to keep and bear firearms has largely been abrogated by corrupt and overreaching pubic officials who have imposed a host of prior restraints to suppress its practice. These include onerous fees, application requirements, waiting periods, repetitive background checks … and the list continues. Indeed, it recently took federal intervention to stop New Jersey’s Democrat governor, Phil Murphy, from using the current COVID-19 outbreak as a pretext to unilaterally ban sales and transfers of firearms entirely.
Yet even against that backdrop, the writer manages to come off as impressively hysterical and incoherent, trying to link a picture of law-abiding citizens displaying finger guns to a 2012 mass murder and a purported 2016 online threat against a local middle school that authorities deemed “not credible.”
According to the Morris Township Police Department, the purpose of the Citizen Police Academy is to provide graduates with “an awareness and appreciation of the services we provide” and to “collectively create an even stronger partnership between our police department and the community we serve … .”
Participants attend lectures, go on ride-alongs with police officers, tour correctional and emergency management facilities, attend a K-9 demonstration, and receive training in areas such as CPR and administering Narcan, a drug used to treat opioid overdoses.
For the record, there appears to be no instruction with or use of actual firearms, although participants are offered a chance to “[t]rain on a firearms simulator.”
That hardly sounds like a precursor to armed mayhem. And yet the woman’s commentary suggests that this is all somehow implicated in one of the worst criminal acts of modern times.
The commentary does provide a valuable service, however, in giving readers a revealing glimpse into the mindset that underlies gun control activism.
First, and most importantly, this mindset seeks the total abolition of the right of Americans to own guns. “[T]his photo selection is glamorizing the use of guns in our town and society,” the commentary states. “Having them in the hands of our citizens, and promotion of same as endorsed by this police program is unconscionable!” Note that this leaves no room for guns – any guns – to be put to any use in “society,” even by citizens conscientious enough to spend 10 weeks of their own time receiving extensive exposure to law enforcement procedures and activities.
Second, the commentary displays the single-minded obsession with which firearm prohibitionists pursue their objectives, even in trivial matters like trying to convince a publication to censor a good-natured photograph that doesn’t even depict firearms, but merely suggests the idea of them. The writer notes she reviewed “hundreds of online images of [citizen police academies] … from all over the country,” finding “less than 10 photos of citizens with guns being shown in conjunction with the program.” This must have taken her considerable time, perhaps even hours. This evinces an unusual level of preoccupation, not to mention a surplus of free time that indicates she has little to do that is actually productive or urgent.
Third, the writer comes across as a deeply unhappy person who is enraged and provoked by a picture of people proactively endeavoring to benefit their community and having fun at the same time. It is perhaps telling that a photograph of her neighbors smiling, clowning around, and enjoying themselves causes her mind to conjure up dark images of violence and chaos.
Whatever the case may be, it seems she has at least succeeded in banishing the photograph from the August Municipal Messenger, which now features a more staid image of the same group. The writer has made no one any safer in doing so, although she has perhaps managed to suck a little more of the fun out of what seems like a great learning opportunity for Morris Township residents interested in police operations.
Fortunately, the Police Department’s own Citizen Academy webpage continues to display the finger-gun portrait, as well as an image of a person holding what appears to be an AR-15. Citizens interested in applying for the 2020 academy must submit their applications by August 21.